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AP News: New York City faulted for delays in getting emergency food aid to struggling families

An astonishing number of families have not received the emergency food and cash aid they desperately need. NYLAG has joined partner organizations, such as Legal Aid, NMINYC, and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice in filing a contempt motion, demanding compliance and justice for struggling families.  

“Thousands of struggling families in New York City are enduring unacceptably long wait times for emergency food and cash aid because of delays that violate a 2005 federal court order, advocacy groups said in new legal filings. 

“Under that ruling, people who qualify for expedited Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or E-SNAP, are supposed to receive them within seven days of applying. If applicants show they have an emergency, the city must give them cash aid for food the same day. But many New York City residents are waiting over a week or even months for the benefits, the Legal Aid Society and other advocacy groups said. 

“They filed a contempt motion Monday in federal court in Manhattan, asking a judge to order the city to reduce backlogs and comply with the 2005 court mandate. City officials said Tuesday that they have been making progress on the lags while handling a significant increase in applications. 

“The advocates say that they’ve been talking to officials for the past year about the missed deadlines. 

“One resident, Laquena Watson, applied for E-SNAP and cash aid in June after she gave birth to her second child, stopped working and her parental leave benefits had expired. She didn’t receive her benefits until early August, and only after she reached out to the advocacy groups and they contacted the city, according to the contempt motion. It was filed by the Legal Aid Society, the National Center For Law And Economic Justice, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation and the New York Legal Assistance Group.” 

Read the full piece by Dave Collins in AP News from December 19, 2023. 

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